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Phrygian Way

Trek through nature and history

The Phrygians appeared in Anatolia in the 11th century BC, migrating across the straits from Thrace. They settled in the region covering the territories of the present day provinces of Afyonkarahisar, Ankara, Eskisehir and Kutahya. By the mid 8th century BC a vibrant civilisation centred around the capital Gordium (Gordion), present day Yassihoyuk, Polatli County of Ankara, was flourishing.

The legendary Midas was the most renowned Phrygian king. Besides the Phrygian capital Gordium, other important settlements were Pessinous (Ballihisar), and the city of Midas (Yazilikaya). The region was covered with volcanic ashes thrown out by Turkmen Mountain (called Mount Elaphoeis in antiquity), and the consolidated tuff created easily carved rocks. The Phrygians left behind many carved rock monuments in the region. The easily worked nature of the local rock also aided in the creation of ancient roads which are still visible in many parts of the region.

The Phrygians were defeated by the Cimmerians, who migrated from the Caucuses in the 7th century BC, and disappeared from history. Phrygian writing is still to be deciphered, but we knew that they were the inventors of flutelike woodwind instruments.

About the trail

The Phrygian Trekking Route is one of the longest trails in Turkey. Planned with great care for the comfort and enjoyment of hikers, the route passes through the renowned Phrygian Valleys where hikers may visit the ruins of ancient civilisations and enjoy the natural beauty of the region. The Trekking Route is 506 kilometres long, and is marked in accordance with international standards. The Route has three starting points and the trails meet at the Yazilikaya (Inscribed Rock), which was a focal point for the Phrygians. Hikers may start the route at the following points: 1) Gordium (Polatli, Ankara), 2) Seydiler (Afyonkarahisar), and 3) Yenice Farm Ciftligi (Ahmetoglu Village, Kutahya).

The project is sponsored by FRIGKUM (Association for Development and Protection of Phrygian Cultural Heritage) and is completed in 2013 by a small volunter team led by Huseyin Sari. The Route was planned in order to introduce trekkers and byclists to Phrygian culture, and to enable them to enjoy a safe journey through the Phrygian Valleys along trails once used by the Phrygians.

The trail starts at Gordium, the political capital of the Phrygians, then follows the valley of the Porsuk (ancientTembris) River, passes through Sivrihisar (ancient Spaleia), and arrives at Pessinous (Ballikaya), another important Phrygian settlement. The trail then enters the valley of the Sakarya (ancient Sangarius) River, where you enter a completely different world. After the Sakarya Valley, the trail enters the region known as Mountainous Phrygia. The trail then reaches the Yazilikaya, the site of the Midas monument which formed the cult centre of the Phrygians. Here the trail splits into two. One branch leads to Findikli Village passing through the Asmainler, Zahran, and Inli Valleys, once home to Phrygian settlements. This branch terminates at Yenice Farm on the highway between Kutahya and Eskisehir. The other branch passes through Saricaova, a picturesque Circassian village, and Doger, town in Afyonkarahisar. The trail then takes you through Ayazini Town before coming to an end at Seydiler, on the highway between Afyonkarahisar and Ankara. Hikers who complete these trails will treasure the memory forever.

The best time to trek is spring and autumn, but there are different attractions in all seasons. Along the trail, there are plenty of springs for water year-round.